Unity with Caroline
This week's blog is from Caroline, who has been up in Blackpool every week at Unity Academy:
I have been working with 2 groups at Unity since November 2022 – a girl’s group and a boy’s group. Both groups are in Year 10 and were specially selected for the opportunity by their Head Of Year, Mr Mashiter. This program has a specific focus on ensuring students are becoming more future ready and we continually link their experiences to their next steps whether that is college or an apprenticeship.
For the first half term leading up to Christmas we worked on a variety of tasks all with the specific focus of improving their employ-ability skills. We learnt more about each other within both of the groups through some introductory exercises and then carrying out the Keirsey Personality tests – these are always great for highlighting strengths and weaknesses and whilst you may think the test has got you wrong you can always guarantee someone else will say it has you spot on!! This is really useful not only for interviews but also when we are working as a team on the social action projects. We also introduced the students to the iDEA award where the students are working towards their Bronze award – giving them a taster of a wide variety of digital skills and potential digital jobs/courses. We looked at the UN Sustainable Development Goals and had some great discussions around which were the most and least important – everyone’s views are always to be respected whether we agree or not!
The groups also carried out Random Acts Of Kindness on the last session before Christmas which they had to plan and budget for. The boys group created Christmas chocolate cones for teachers and the girls had planned an elf treasure hunt leading to Santa’s grotto and chocolate prizes – unfortunately Santa and a couple of elves got stuck in the North Pole (they were off ill ☹) and the girls’ showed fantastic resilience by re-planning the event in about an hour and it was still a great success!
After Christmas we have been focussed on Social Action. A vital part of this programme is to enable the students to put into action something they really care about. We always see and hear young people wondering what they can do? Asking how they can get their voice heard and in the current political climate this is becoming even more important!
Social action is the way forward and they are well on the way with these projects now. It is fantastic to be able to build on some of our previous successes at Unity for this cohort which enables them to see that they really can make a difference. As part of this, students have been planning, budgeting and digitally designing social action projects. They have been introduced to using Canva and ProCreate to help them create their logos, posters and social media posts. These projects are totally the students’ choice of issue and we had some lively debate linking back to the SDG’s in deciding what issues to choose.
The boys group also had an amazing opportunity to visit Granada News studio (see our previous blog here) – the girls group will also be having a visit - plans have been scuppered twice through train strikes but we will make it happen!
The boys’ group have decided to work on crime in the local area particularly bike and knife crime which they feel has a real impact on their age group in particular – they launched the Rapscallion Repellers with an Easter Egg raffle on the last session of the Spring Term whilst the girls’ group also launched Unity Fresh with Easter Bunnies delivering eggs for all at lunchtime. Their focus is on creating cheap but fresh menus for families - Unity Fresh.
Both groups have designed their logo and have badges and stickers made, keep an eye out on our socials for the full social action launch after the Easter Break.